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Geist Downtime – Better than Life 1

- By Andrew “Rannos” Moran

Some of the players in my LARP have busy schedules, and are unable to make it to my game,  so I send them little stories and snapshots of what their characters were upto during the game instead.  

Better than Life 1

The unyielding rain beats down around you at an odd pace like a slow Danse Macabre. With the thin canopy overhead providing little shelter you’re a sitting duck, and you know it.  Every step forward your feet sink a little farther into the mud, squelching loudly and ungracefully up the sides of your boots.

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Changeling: The Lost Fiction – “Cause to Act”

A story based on our “Changeling: the Lost” Live-Action Roleplaying Game – written by Laura Mason

Sally slams the computer shut with a click, tears in her eyes. Why would he not come and see her? He was her friend wasn’t he? She thought they got on well before. She frowns, pursing her lips, her hands balled into fists on the laptop for a moment before moving it. She puts her face in her hands. She likes him. Okay not as much as Arty, but he is her friend.  “I haven’t slept yet,” he had said. A tear glistens on her cheek. The tawny owl that has been sitting on the back of the sofa, reading the messages with her, flaps down to sit on the arm next to her.

“He will be okay.” It says, its voice soft and whispery, concerned. She looks at it, tears still migrating downwards. “He is strong; you said he was when he taught you.” Sally shakes her head and the owl moves again, sitting on her lap now; it snuggles up against her. She strokes its soft brown feathers absently, lost in thought. He had been so kind to her, helping her learn and dancing with her.

“But if he’s not sleeping…” She argues with the owl, which swivels its head to look up at her with large eyes. Her voice is hoarse and full of emotion, more tears falling. She remembers the night up in the hotel in London; he had been so very drunk and his kisses… She should not think of them.  She is Arty’s now. The owl’s voice brings her mind back to the present.

“He will sleep. He said he would. He can look after himself.” Fluffy the owl’s voice is full of concern for her. “What are we going to do about the water spirit things?” She shakes her head.
“I don’t know. I could go and talk to them again I guess. Or ask someone else what they think about it maybe,” she speaks solemnly and then sighs. “I need to do more to help. Lucan cannot do it all on his own.” Determination creeps into her voice. “I wish I could do something to help him.”

“He’s your friend, and he’s polite, I’ll help him if I can. What are you going to do?”

She looks away shaking her head a little. “I don’t know. I need to think about it. I can’t go and fight beasts, I’d only get in the way.”

Fluffy snuggles against her.

****

Something shuddered next to her and she felt a lurch as she almost fell. Her eyes snapped open, struggling to stay on the bed. Scrabbling with the covers, she managed to avoid the floor. What on earth? She sat up, suddenly remembering where she was. Arty lay next to her, shifting around in his sleep. She felt his skin on hers and memory returned to her, her silvery cheeks flushing and her heart skipping a beat. She looked at him with a smile, breathing in his cinnamon scent, before frowning. As he shifted his expression contorted with fear and pain. A nightmare. Panicking slightly, she leant back down, her hand touching lightly on his temple, her thoughts drifting.  Casting around for anything, she pushed into Arty’s mind. Changing the dreamscape there with her agreement.

The breeze fluttered the leaves tentatively above her head, the mottled sunlight dancing on her skin. She exhaled, it had worked. She looked around, her eyes searching the forest around her. Autumn it was, or late summer and the plants were bearing fruit around them.  The leaves were a mixture of golden brown and green depending on how the plants felt.  A large table cloth was stretched out in the clearing where she knelt. She smiled at Arty and his answering smile was full of surprise. “You changed it?”

“Yes, you were having a nightmare I think. Nearly pushed me out of bed,” she teased, lightly, smiling. He blushed slightly, looking guilty.

“Sorry. I- I didn’t mean to fall asleep.”

She smiled, taking his hand. “It’s okay.”

He put his arm around her and he sighed happily. The air warm on her skin, she looked around once more. It was exactly as she remembered it, only the flowers on the forest floor were still growing.  It had been a good picnic in the waking world, the last one of summer and everyone had a good time lounging about, eating and throwing flowers at each other.  They had named Biff the champion of summer, after Mortar had beaten them all in the competitions. Everyone had joined in; or nearly everyone. The only downside was that Arty hadn’t been there, that would have made it perfect.

Sitting up, she gently manipulated him so that he was lying down with his head in her lap as she ran her fingers through his hair. “I love you Arty.”

Pulling herself out of his dream, she blinked, looking down at him once again. His sleeping form now lay peacefully, a smile on his lips. He moved slightly, not waking, taking hold of her hand and holding it to him, starting to snore gently.

Short Story

 By James Galloway

This short story is set in the same universe as my Monday night GURPS Monster Hunters/Cyberpunk campaign, a dark future where the lowlifes and mega-corporations aren’t the only dangers lurking in the shadows. Here a group of freelance corporate espionage agents find out that the simple job they thought they were taking on wasn’t so easy after all…

Cross checked over his pistol manually, just to be sure. The cybernetic linkup through his palm should notify him of any problems, but it never hurt to take a second look. Not that he was expecting tonight to be troublesome; he and his associates had been hired to appropriate a Eurere Biotech transport truck and drop it off on the outskirts of St Louis, a relatively simple snatch and grab.

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[Lost Fiction] – A Midnight Skate

By Andrew “Rannos” Moran

Here is a Fiction Piece from my Changeling: the Lost LARP character.

Apologies for my poor grammar [What poor grammar? This blog has an editor for a reason, you know! - Ed.] and to Laura for putting my words into her character’s mouth. Hopefully she won’t disapprove.

I stared hard and warily at my ice skates. They looked almost impossible to balance on, having only small slivers of metal to connect me to the ground. I don’t really like the ice, not that I’ll admit it. Ice is harsh, unending and freezing, but worst of all Ice reminds me of when I escaped and was lost. Sighing slightly I started to remove my boots, doing so slowly in the hopes that the inevitable would not happen.

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Edge of Midnight Monday: The Unmasking of Mr. G

by Azrael

Case One – The Death of Harry Fontaine

Chapter Eleven – The Unmasking of Mr. G

31st October, 1949

And now, for the thrilling finale in The Death of Harry Fontaine, read on …

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Edge of Midnight Monday: The Tale of Two Prisoners

by Azrael

Case One – The Death of Harry Fontaine

Chapter Ten – The Tale of Two Prisoners

30th-31st October, 1949

So in walks the boss, and cradled in his arms is Shirley, but she’s not looking in a good way with more holes in her than a dutch cheese. I don’t know many people who could take that kind of punishment and survive it, but the boss seems to have hope as he gets onto his boss to have a Doc sent round. I don’t know how the boss is feeling, he’s covering it up pretty well, but I’m gutted, and Rocky is clearly devastated. Despite their little fall out the boss is determined to take care of her, and I find myself wanting to do the same. I like having Shirley around, and she’d sure be missed. Anyways, turns out that Sinclair chap is still out in the van, Rocky and I are sent out to bring him in too. I don’t know what’s up with the guy, he’s not exactly got a lot of blood on him, but he can’t even move. With the boss taking care of those two, and our captives in the bathroom, it’s sure going to be crowded in here tonight.

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Edge of Midnight Monday: The Terrible Tong and the Collapsed Cliff

by Azrael

Case One – The Death of Harry Fontaine

Chapter Nine – The Terrible Tong and the Collapsed Cliff

Early Afternoon, 30th October, 1949

POV: Shirley Homes

The situation certainly was sticky, stickier than a kid enjoying their Halloween hoard. As Bill and I rounded the bend we could see James’ car in the distance, being pushed closer to the edge of the cliff by the large gaunt. Bill approached it as fast as he was able, but going uphill was a struggle for his car. The Tong fish van behind us also held a pack of troubles that we didn’t need to deal with when we got to the end of the road. I couldn’t do anything to help James from here, so I decided to try and slow down the van behind us. Winding down the window I turned in the seat, so I could find my target through the rear window. My heart sank as I saw the golden goons hanging out of the van all held tommy guns pointed at us. I hoped to incapacitate the driver or van giving Bill a chance to pull away from them. Holding my arm out the window I aimed at the man behind the wheel, squeezing the trigger of my Webley and Scott… Just as the car jolted over a pothole. I tried to keep my hand steady, but realised my aim had been off as I saw steam start to spew out of the engine. I guess I’d hit the radiator, but the van didn’t noticeably start to slow down.

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Edge of Midnight Monday: Enter the Tong Torturer

by Azrael

Case One – The Death of Harry Fontaine

Chapter Eight – Enter the Tong Torturer

Late Evening, 29th October, 1949

I ain’t proud of it, but during my breathing days there were plenty of times I woke up after a night with too many whiskeys in it with a nasty taste in my mouth, like metal, vinegar and bile. This case is beginning to taste like that, sour like old pennies soaked in vomit.

Shirley doesn’t know who to trust any more, and she made the mistake of telling Jake about her doubts. The tension between the two of ‘em is like a gathering storm, and when it breaks I don’t know who’s going to come off worst. Doubt and suspicion are contagious, and Jake’s beginning to wonder if maybe the Pattersons really are involved in my death, somehow. The evidence is certainly sending mixed signals, and it’s getting to the stage where Jake isn’t even sure if he can trust his own boss.

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Edge of Midnight Monday: Depth of Deception

by Azrael

Case One – The Death of Harry Fontaine

Chapter Seven – Depth of Deception

Afternoon, 29th October, 1949

I could see that the case was gnawing at Shirley’s innards the way a rat chews on gristle. Sure, we were friends, but her obsession with solving my murder was down to more than that. Every time she thought of my corpse laying in the artificial chill of the morgue, I knew she could see her brother looking back at her out of my own empty eyes. That was the key to her need for answers; she felt like she’d failed her brother and this was her way of atoning.

The problem was, where did she go from here? More importantly, who could she trust?

She thought she knew where she stood with Jake Bullet, thought she could trust him. She knew he was focused on business, but not cruel. That all started to change after he used her like a slab of meat this morning, making her cry out in pain as he took his ‘payment’ just to make himself look strong in the eyes of his goons.

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Edge of Midnight Monday: The Hornet’s Nest

by Azrael

Case One – The Death of Harry Fontaine

Chapter Six – The Hornet’s Nest

Morning, 29th October, 1949

It never ceases to amaze me how money can open up doors, even the ones with solid steel bars and obstinate locks to go with ‘em. Despite the eye witnesses in the case of the destroyed building and the other evidence against Giles, Ruby’s fancy lawyer and her donation to the judge’s retirement fund got Giles sprung loose before the arraignment hearing was even over. A short while after that he vanished in a limo to Ruby’s mansion, and I have to wonder if he knows what he was letting himself in for.

Meanwhile, things are hotting up with the investigation into my murder. Shirley not only spurned Inich and Matthew’s advances but threatened the assistant lab-rat with a gun, too. I don’t know him too well, but I can’t help but think that ain’t the kind of insult that either of them is going to take lying down.

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Edge of Midnight Monday: Date With Death

by Azrael

Case One – The Death of Harry Fontaine

Chapter Five – Date With Death

Late Evening, 28th October, 1949

I heard about it weeks before I got given a one-way ticket to the afterlife, but frankly I never had the guts to look into it. I wasn’t sure that I could stand another stab in the guts, another slap in the face, another dead end in my never-ending search for the dame who tore me apart and left me like roadkill.

All the while I knew there was a classy number who matched the description of my Eva dancing in that Eastowne cabaret, I could hold on to the hope, the fantasy that it would be her. We’d be reunited, and she’d fall into my arms, tears of shame and joy smudging her perfect mascara as she begged me to come back to her.

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Edge of Midnight Monday: Life is a Cabaret

by Azrael

Case One – The Death of Harry Fontaine

Chapter Four – Life is a Cabaret

28th October, 1949

So next thing I knew, Giles was trying a jumpsuit with arrows on for size. With Ruby busy pullin’ strings to try and get him out, that left the other three on the job. I didn’t know how much longer I could expect this mismatched trio to keep their own lives on ice while they tried to find out who put an end to mine, but frankly I was grateful for all the help I could get.

They’d been tossing around theories while, across town, Giles was getting the screws put on him by the Crystal Ball Squad, but I couldn’t quite believe where one of their theories was taking them.

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